May 24, 2018 / 10:35 AM / a month ago

Italian coalition "cause for concern" - German minister

BERLIN, May 24 (Reuters) - The German government on Thursday voiced concern about anti-European statements made by members of Italy’s incoming governing coalition, and the BDI industry association urged Rome to stick to European Union treaties and euro zone budget rules.

Italian President Sergio Mattarella on Wednesday gave political novice Giuseppe Conte a mandate to lead the first government in Italy made up of anti-establishment parties that have vowed to shake up the EU.

“More than ever before, Europe needs a reliable Italian partner who, as before, sees its place in the heart of Europe and not in the deceptive security of nationalism,” Deputy Foreign Minister Michael Roth told Spiegel magazine.

The magazine reported him as saying many statements from members of the incoming coalition were “cause for concern”.

Italy had been deadlocked since an inconclusive election in March. After weeks of fruitless talks between the various parties, 5-Star and the League finally agreed to a government pact last Friday, promising to hike taxes and jack up spending.

Roth’s comments were echoed by Germany’s BDI industry association which urged the new Italian government to abide by European treaties and the euro zone’s common budget rules.

“German industry is concerned about the government program,” BDI Managing Director Joachim Lang said. “Incoming Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte must bring the coalition parties back to earth. The expensive election promises are not financeable. They endanger the economic recovery in Italy,” he added.

Lang pointed out that Italy’s industrial production and foreign trade in particular had developed well over the past three years.

Italy’s industry is the second largest in Europe after Germany which is by far the most important trading partner of Italian companies with an annual bilateral trade of 120 billion euros ($140.71 billion), Lang added. ($1 = 0.8528 euros) (Reporting by Michael Nienaber, Editing by William Maclean)

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